Thursday, February 16, 2017

local touring

yesterday Barb and Beth and I went on a "three-hour-tour" without Gilligan and the Skipper...LOL - we stayed on land, to be exact we were on St Armands Key the whole time mostly in restaurants LOL (anybody surprised? LOL I thought not..)

Here is the blurb from their website:
Our flagship lunch tour begins in the center of St. Armands Circle.  What better way to experience some of the finest restaurants in Sarasota and learn the history of one of the most exquisite retail establishments in the nation?  Removed from the hustle and bustle of the mainland separated by Sarasota Bay, St. Armands' unique history and tropical beauty provides an unforgettable experience for natives and visitors from all over the world.  Our tours offer the opportunity to learn about this special area and taste some of the finest cuisine imaginable.

We learned a bit about the history of the place and the vision of the developers (John Ringling and Owen Burns- both big names around these parts) and the statuary along with the Circus Walk of Fame that surrounds the inner circle of what is technically Harding Circle on St Armand's Key... and that really should be St Amand's Key because the original owner was actually named St Amand not Armand but the deeds and land title documents had errors that got carried forward and we now know it as St ARmands...

but I am sure you are anxiously awaiting photos - LOL here is an aerial view of the whole key- taken from the Internet- 

Instructions were to meet at the inner circle by the Ringling statue between Crab & Fin and La Macaron... and since he wears a halo around these parts it seemed perfectly appropriate that the John Ringling statue was bathed in light LOL

The photo of the original house on - then St Amands. St Amand bought the island to farm for himself and his family food supply-

the causeway over to the island built by developers Ringling & Burns

our first food stop- for truffle fries and kung poa calamari-

a short walk to stop number two- we passed by the location of Ringling's office on the way-

 here we had the 1905 salad (made table side) and a half sandwich (Cuban of course)

then back to the main circle for a tour of some of the famous circus performers enshrined in the hall of fame around the main circle-

we saw  a number of Wallendas and Pedro Reis and Lou Jacobs and Dolly Jacobs along with Emmet Kelly and many more familiar names ---

then on to the tea and spice shopping stop (thankfully a short one as I am not a shopper) - lovely store with many nice things -

then around another spoke to Blu Kouzina a Greek place with excellent samples of the food -

some historic brochures for those wanting to know about every one of the nearly forty statues in the circle-

a final stop for Key Lime pie at the #2 Tommy Bahama of the empire of lifestyle stores and restaurants.... etc. 

fun tour - recommended as something to do with visitors from northern climates in the winter- a nice way to get out and see the circle without getting in the "weeds" of shopping every one of the 200 shops there....

St. Armands Circle - Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota has long since been a vacation attraction for the rich and famous. One of which was quite influential to this area and called Sarasota home. John Ringling, of the circus world, is that man. When John Ringling purchased a group of islands off Sarasota in the 1920s, he had plans for a major tourist attraction with elegant shops, world-class restaurants, and the finest of hotels. Although Ringling did not live to see it, his dream is reality today and has become a destination for world class visitors, better known as St. Armand's Circle on Lido Key.

St. Armand's Circle is centrally located on the lushly landscaped island of Lido Key. Not only will you find contemporary architecture of distinction, Lido Key also boasts stunning beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, year-round lifeguards, acres of recreation area along the bay, spectacular views, playgrounds and pools for lounging at our Mid-Key public beach. For those visiting Lido Key in search of peace and quiet, enjoy one of our hidden white sugar sand beaches and relax your days away. All will enjoy the charms of St. Armand's circle, just a short walk from many Lido Key areas. Superb exclusive shops, galleries, exotic boutiques, sophisticated restaurants and nightlife all located on St. Armand's Circle. While you're there, remember to visit the center of St. Armand's Circle to see The Circus Ring of Fame, a "sidewalk of circus stars." A must for any kid at heart! Or, if you are more the romantic type, treat yourself to a special view of this island by a horse-drawn carriage.

St. Armand's Circle, Lido Key continues to be a tribute to John Ringling, the man with a vision to last long past his time. Enjoy our lifestyle.... our paradise.....

so our day full of sunshine and food and history was a good one and ended before the 4 PM rain so common here in the summer- and I walked into the house just as the sprinkle of rain came... perfect timing! Tonight we are off to the circus - so stay tuned for more fun and games....

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